Karin Smith, born Karin Gunderson, May 16, 1945 to Dale (deceased) and Dena Gunderson of Arizona, died August 25, 2011, peacefully in her sleep from heart failure. Her capacity for love and the exuberance of her life exceeded the ability of her heart.

Karin was born in Aberdeen, Wash. She attended Weatherwax High School in Aberdeen, and she achieve a Bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Washington, Seattle. Karin was the oldest of five children: Kalen (Laura), Talmer (Lonnie), who preceded her in death, and Brenda (Dan) and Greg.

Karin was a vibrant and dynamic woman, who loved art, literature, music, friends and family. Most important to Karin, however, were children (of all ages). She recognized the contributions that everyone had to offer, and every person she met became a friend.

Her curiosity and wonderment was contagious and defined her intellect. She was a voracious reader and lifelong learner who recently undertook Master Gardener courses and watercolor painting classes at Dots 'n' Doodles. Karin spoke French and practiced Japanese and Spanish.

Karin never stopped giving of herself to the causes she championed or the people she loved. She offered daycare in Astoria for many years, and the families who children she nurtured treasured her as family. She volunteered with the Astor Street Opry Company Playhouse, the Friends of Chinook School, Astoria Riverfront Trolley, and she was a beloved fixture at the Astoria Starving Artist Faire.

Karin is survived by her loving husband, Charles Stuart; her children, Zachary (Tammy Snyder) and Hillary (Darryl Coates); her stepchildren, Nicole Stuart (Mark Duntemann) and Alena (John Dryden); her grandchildren, Lauren, Ezekial, Priel, James, Andrew, Hayden and Jacob; her siblings; and many loving nieces, nephews and treasured friends.

A celebration of Karin's life will be held at Pier 39/Rogue Ale Public House on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011 from 5:30-7:30pm. The family requests that friends bring their cherished memories of Karin to share so that we may comfort each other.

In lieu of flowers, Karin's family requests that donations be made to the Women's Crisis Center, her favorite local charity, or Kiva, an international micro-lending organization that seeks to better the lives of all people.

Carry Karin's light forward to honor her memory. It will take all of our efforts to fill her shoes.

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